BJA's Justice Today
April 2010
In the Spotlight
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In today's world, forensic science is a critical and necessary element of a successful criminal investigation. Its introduction is regularly expected by juries and prosecutors because it is not susceptible to the shortcomings of human memory or the pitfalls of witness motivation. Collected, managed, and analyzed correctly, it provides powerful, probative evidence that goes directly to the guilt or innocence of an individual. As part of its mandate to enhance the criminal justice system, BJA forensic science efforts focus on increasing knowledge of the various applications that can ensure quality investigations and correct verdicts of guilt or innocence. BJA has partnered with the University of Tennessee's (UT) Law Enforcement Innovations Center (LEIC) to provide a variety of forensic training and technical assistance programs to assist law enforcement personnel throughout the United States.

National Forensic Academy: Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a real CSI? LEIC conducts a 10-week National Forensic Academy (NFA) at UT. The NFA program is offered in-residence and uses curriculum developed by leading forensic practitioners from across the U.S. Participants learn an array of techniques related to evidence identification, collection, and preservation. The training consists of classroom instruction, lab activities, and field exercises. Students learn from over 19 modules of course work. For more information, visit http://www.leic.tennessee.edu/training/nfa.html/.

Recovery Act: Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement: Through UT's Regional Community Policing Institute, BJA will be offering training to qualified rural law enforcement personnel on DNA Evidence Identification, Collection, and Preservation and Crime Scene Management-Field Techniques. The DNA program is intended for law enforcement and emergency first-responder groups; participants will have access to forensic evidence identification, documentation, collection, and preservation procedures. Through the Crime Scene Management course, designed to teach basic crime scene investigation techniques, participants receive hands-on training in the areas of DNA evidence, fingerprinting, bloodstain pattern analysis, photography, evidence collection and packaging, documentation, crime scene sketching, and more. For more information, contact Deidra.phillips@tennessee.edu, call 1–866–449–5342, or visit www.leic.tennessee.edu.

Forensic Symposium: On December 9–10, NFA will host its forensic symposium in Nashville, Tennessee. This event will be open to all law enforcement personnel and will focus on best practices in forensic investigation. Forensic experts from across the country will present best practices, new technologies, and resources available to forensic practitioners. Funded by BJA, this symposium will provide participants with outstanding instruction and an opportunity for expanding their network of forensic experts and practitioners. More information will soon be available at www.nfa.tennessee.edu or by contacting NFA Program Specialist Nathan Lefebvre at 865–946–3233.

News You Can Use

Impression and Pattern Evidence Symposium
BJA, the National Institute of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division are co-sponsoring the Impression and Pattern Evidence Symposium to be held August 2–5, 2010, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The symposium will bring together practitioners and researchers to enhance information sharing and promote collaboration among the impression and pattern evidence, law enforcement, and legal communities. The symposium will also provide unique educational opportunities for impression and pattern evidence examiners. Read more

BJA Looking for Flash Mob Information
BJA is seeking information from law enforcement agencies that have developed policies and procedures for handling flash mob incidents. BJA defines a "flash mob" as a sudden, near-spontaneous gathering generated by invitations extended through social-network web sites and text messaging. To date, most flash mobs were more quixotic than criminal and other than precautions for safety, provide little need for direct law enforcement. More recently however, some jurisdictions are reporting thefts, assaults, and property damage have occurred during flash mob events. BJA is considering developing a training and technical assistance program, and is interested in hearing from law enforcement agencies that have flash mob response experience. Agencies can contact Michael Medaris, BJA Senior Policy Advisor, at michael.medaris@usdoj.gov.

BJA Center for Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
The BJA Center for Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement provides information and resources to help evaluators and practitioners improve criminal justice program planning and implementation, evaluations, and performance measurement. The Program Areas section contains topic-specific, easily understandable information on what has been learned (and not yet learned) from evaluations in that area, how to use evaluation findings, challenges with carrying out evaluations in that area, performance measures, a logic model, and a list of related publications. A monthly newsletter covers recently released evaluation publications, project updates, tips on carrying out evaluations, and other evaluation information. Visit the Center's web site to explore the latest program area, Community Prosecution, or to sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Grants and Funding

BJA has released the following solicitations:

Find more BJA funding opportunities.

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit www.psob.gov.
Did You Know?

July 18–24 is the 2010 Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week. In support of this event, the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) has launched a new resource kit. The kit includes a poster with this year's theme as well as numerous ideas on how to commemorate the week and new web banners for use on agency web sites. With federal funding under the Second Chance Act, community corrections agencies have the opportunity to make real changes in offenders' lives, and the tools in this kit support that effort.

Find the kit on APPA's web site at: http://www.appa-net.orgeweb/Resources/ PPCSW_10/.

Featured Program

In 1965, the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was established to bring together specially trained investigators from around the region to work together to address crime. The Major Case Squad encompasses six counties and nearly 2.5 million people.

Based on the Greater St. Louis concept, BJA's Major Case Investigation Teams project provides training and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies interested in developing regional investigative response consortiums. This program will provide a wide range of technical assistance that includes response protocol development, investigative training sessions, and forensic capacity assessments. In the coming months, BJA expects to form up to six regional consortiums. For more information, contact Michael Medaris, BJA Senior Policy Advisor, at michael.medaris@usdoj.gov.

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